A Watershed Election

At Ottawa Riverkeeper, we congratulate all candidates, regardless of party affiliation. We look forward to collaborating with all MPs whose ridings include a part of the Ottawa River watershed.

After a campaign that took many turns, the people of Canada cast their ballot yesterday and re-elected a Liberal government, albeit with a minority. This means that a lot of new faces will fill the House of Commons when it reconvenes. The winds of change will usher in ambitious new ideas, unprecedented alliances, and unforeseen challenges. 

At Ottawa Riverkeeper, we congratulate all candidates, regardless of party affiliation. We look forward to collaborating with all MPs whose ridings include a part of the Ottawa River watershed. As a source of water for two million people in Ontario and Quebec, the watershed is a vital natural feature that requires protection from a range of threats.

During the campaign, we identified a number of issues that our newly elected officials will have to tackle with collaborative approaches, innovative policy-making and, most of all, a willingness to listen to citizens’ concerns. Climate change’s impacts on species and their habitats, nuclear waste disposal along the banks of the Ottawa river, and the prevention and mitigation of devastating flooding episodes will all require non-partisan strategies and urgent, tangible actions.

The controversial near surface disposal site at Chalk River, 200 kilometres west of the National Capital region, is more than a local matter. A spill could contaminate our clean river, affecting countless communities downstream. But it is also deeply troubling that Canada does not have a national policy in place to regulate the disposal of nuclear waste. This must be remedied over the course of the 43rd Parliament.

For a long time, Ottawa Riverkeeper has been advocating for the creation of a coordinating body that would bring key players (governments, First Nations, NGOs, the private sector, etc.) to the table to anticipate, discuss, and address issues that pose a risk to the ecological health and future of the watershed. If yesterday’s election showed anything it is that Canadians want interlocutors of different stripes to represent them, to sit down together, and to hammer out solutions. 

Diversity and collaboration are what will make the next Parliament work. They will also make our watershed thrive.

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